What not to miss: A peek inside the biggest ETF event of the year

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This year’s Inside ETFs kicks off on Sunday, gathering over 2,500 ETF proponents under one roof to discuss what the future holds for the now wildly popular investment vehicles. With a quarter-century of existence under their belt, ETFs are included in more portfolios than ever, having attracted nearly $500 billion in assets in 2017 alone.

As the ETF landscape continues to balloon, so do the range of topics to be discussed at the show, as well as the number of ETF issuers, financial advisors, investors, marketers, and journalists attending Inside ETFs. With so much going on throughout the four-day event, you’re sure to find something that piques your interest ─ you just need to know where to find it. To make this process a bit easier, here’s some of what we’re excited about going into the world’s biggest ETF conference.

Off-the-beaten-path ETFs and innovative methodologies rule the panels

While the larger, cap-weighted ETFs still lay claim to most of the ETF industry’s assets, sometimes it’s the niche funds you haven’t thought about—those with outside-the-box methodologies—that can give your portfolio the shot in the arm it needs. Inside ETFs will feature a number of panels focused on this exact idea.

Don’t miss the “Everything You Need to Know: Thematic ETFs” panel at 1:55 p.m. on Monday, featuring several prominent ETF figures, including  ROBO Global’s Travis Briggs. This panel is set to discuss why certain themes have become so popular, and whether or not themed ETFs will continue to grow in numbers and attract assets.

The “Hidden Gems” panel is also addressing smaller, niche products on Tuesday at 10:20 a.m. GraniteShares’ Will Rhind, Exponential ETFs’ Kevin Quigg, and a number of other ETF entrepreneurs will be offering their thoughts on the best niche products and which up-and-coming ETFs investors should keep an eye on. If you’re looking for some new funds, or simply some niche ETFs you may not have heard of, be sure to check out this session.

Also focusing on new approaches to the ETF market is the “RIA Focus: Contrarian Strategies and the Hunt for Alpha” panel. At 8 a.m. on Wednesday, this panel—featuring Exponential ETFs’ CEO Phil Bak—will talk about the various contrarian strategies that need to be on your radar. Expect to hear about the reverse market-cap weighted ETF, angel bond funds, as well as what the new approaches behind these funds mean for the development of future products.

Building new ETFs from scratch

Amplify ETFs’ Christian Magoon practically wrote the book on launching ETFs. On the “How to Launch (& Grow) an ETF in 2018” panel discussion taking place at 2:40 p.m. on Tuesday, Magoon will share his insights gleaned from the dozens of successful ETF launches he’s been a part of. This panel will showcase the perfect blend of entrepreneurial spirit and investment acumen required to get a new product off the ground and keep it running for years.

By the way, Magoon and Reality Shares’ Eric Ervin (who will also be in attendance) are the men behind the two most successful ETF launches so far this year. Both the Amplify Transformational Data Sharing ETF (BLOK) and the Reality Shares Nasdaq NexGen Economy ETF (BLCN) made massive splashes as the two first blockchain-themed ETFs to hit the exchanges.

Talking points from cash to taxes

Not everything exciting happens at the panels. Sometimes, the best conversations happen out on the floor and at exhibition booths. Stop by Pacer ETFs at exhibition booth 719 to ask about their Cash Cow series. These ETFs use rules-based indices to screen and identify companies with high free cash flow yields, which can be a better indicator of a company’s success than typical metrics.

InfraCap will also be exhibiting at booth 617, sending CEO, founder and portfolio manager Jay Hatfield to discuss everything from the tax bill’s implications on ETF investors and small businesses to the hidden strength of oil and MLPs. With an ETF focused on the midstream energy sector and another focused on high yielding liquid preferred securities issued by Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT), be sure to track down InfraCap at this year’s conference.

ETFs for everyone

With networking opportunities, workshops, and the long list of financial journalists in attendance, Inside ETFs is one conference we can’t wait to attend. While it’s impossible to hit every panel, we hope that we’ve given you some interesting topics to look out for while you’re there.

If you can’t attend, be sure to follow along on Twitter via the hashtag #InsideETFs, as well as with Gregory FCA’s own Joe Anthony (@JoeAnthony), Leah Katsanis (@LeahKatsanis) and Jess Emery (@jesskemery).